A white mucous-like film floating on your pool or clinging to your pool fixtures and toys can be disgusting. However, this is often a sign that you have white water mold in your swimming pool.
As sickening as white water mold can be to look at, it is still reasonably easy to remove from the pool and prevent its reoccurrence if you know what to do.
That said, like with any other common pool problem, you will always be better off if you have enough information about white water mold and not just know how to remove it. It will help if you start by understanding what it is and its main causes in your pool.
What is White Water Mold?
White water mold looks like a layer of white tissue paper, and so if you do not have enough experience, you can easily assume it is some shreds of toilet that you can quickly skim out.
However, white water mold is a naturally occurring fungus-like organism, and it belongs to the Oomycota class of organisms. These organisms love moisture-rich environments, and so your pool water will always attract them.
Although organisms in the Oomycota class, like white water mold, feed on organic matter and can even harm fish, they pose a minimal danger for swimmers. Any white mold on your skin or swimsuit will die when you get out of the water and get dry.
What Causes White Water Mold in a Pool?
It is not always easy to trace the exact source of something like white mold in your swimming pool. However, there are a few common causes that include the following.
1. Improper Water Circulation: When your water circulation is optimal, it is hard for things like white mold and other contaminants to grow. With proper circulation, your filtration system will often trap most of them.
2. Moldy Garden Hose: In many instances, white mold will get into your pool through the garden hose you use for pool refills. Mold often grows inside the hose as it loves moist plastic surfaces, and so you will often transfer it to the pool during refills.
3. Unbalanced Water: If your water chemistry is out of balance and you do not have an adequate amount of chlorine or any other sanitizer that you use, there is an increased likelihood of white mold growing in your pool.
Why is White Water Mold a Problem?
The main problem with white water mold is that it gives your pool an unsightly look. A pool with mucus-like substances floating around or one that looks like it is full of shredded toilet paper is not very inviting.
What’s more, if you allow this mold to keep multiplying in your pool, it can easily throw your water chemistry off balance, which gives you more work. Worst still, it will also accumulate on things like the filter, skimmer, and pump, hence affecting their performance.
Another reason that makes white water mold a big problem is that it is super hard to get rid of once it infests your pool. Even if you cannot see any after a thorough cleanup, it is still highly likely to return in the future.
How to Remove White Water Mold?
White water mold can be pretty stubborn, but you can still remove it from your pool by following the steps below and maintaining a strict cleaning routine.
Step 1: Check the Pump and Clean Filter
One of the main reasons you have white water mold in your pool is because your pool water is not circulating correctly, or the filter cannot capture these contaminants due to blockage or clogging.
Therefore, before anything else, you need to check your pump and filtration system. Test the pump to determine whether it is working well and make sure you are running it long enough every day.
When it comes to the filter, you have to make sure it is not clogged by spraying the DE filters to remove the trapped debris. If you have a sand filter, backwashing and rinsing should be enough to clean and restore it to optimal working conditions.
Step 2: Skim to Remove the Floating Mold
When you are sure your pump and filter are working okay, you can start the cleanup process. Here you will need to begin by skimming the pool to remove the visible mold.
Make sure you remove as much of the mold as possible. Having a good pool skimmer like the Sepetrel Swimming Pool Leaf Skimmer Net can be very useful for this step as its fine net will pick up most of the mold.
Step 3: Test and Balance Your Water
Next, you need to test and balance your pool water chemistry. You have to check the alkalinity, pH, and chlorine levels to ensure they are within the optimal level. For example, chlorine should be between 1 and 4 ppm.
Test strips can give you a good indication of the level of different elements in your pool water. But if you want something easier and even more accurate, go for a digital test kit like AquaChek Trutest Digital Reader.
Step 4: Shock the Pool
Once the pool water is balanced, the next step is to shock it to get rid of mold and other contaminants in the water while also freeing up more chlorine for optimal sanitation.
Shocking your pool should be a regular part of maintenance, and if you have not been doing it, you might need to repeat a few times when dealing with white water mold.
You will need at least 3 pounds of a potent pool shock such as calcium hypochlorite for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. The specific product you are using will have directions on how best to use it and provide more accurate figures on the amount you need.
Step 5: Give the Pool a Thorough Scrubbing
Pool shocking requires you to keep out of the pool for at least 24 hours to allow the chlorine levels to drop back to normal. Once you give it enough time, the next step should be to give the pool surfaces a thorough scrubbing.
A stiff pool brush like the Sepetrel Heavy-Duty Pool Brush will be handy here are it will allow you to scrub different parts of the pool meticulously.
The aim here should be to scrub off the white mold from all pool surfaces and other fixtures like ladders, skimmers, and the return jets.
Step 6: Run the Pump Again
You will need to rerun the pump after you finish scrubbing to allow your filtration system to capture the mold that you loosen in the step above.
For the best results, you need to run the pump longer than you usually would to allow the water to circulate through the filter several times not to miss any of these tiny organisms. In most instances, running the pump for around 24 hours should be enough.
Step 7: Brush Again, Run Pump, and Clean Filter
It is always good to give the pool another round of thorough brushing to ensure you do not miss any spots. Also, it would help if you run the pump to allow your filter to trap any mold still in the pool, and once done, make sure you clean your filters.
Step 8: Balance the Water
The cleaning process will most likely throw your water off balance or even just alter one element like the pH. Therefore, the last step should always be to test the water chemistry again and balance anything off.
How to Prevent White Water Mold?
- Remember to brush your swimming pool surfaces thoroughly at least once every week to ensure mold does not grow.
- Keep your pool chemistry balanced and ensure you always have adequate amounts of free chlorine by adding a stabilizer.
- Oxidize your pool by exposing it to sunlight often to ensure it is less conducive to white water mold.
- Ensure your filter is always clean and clog-free by backwashing or spraying it at least once every month, depending on the type.
- Clean your pool toys and everything else that gets into contact with the water, like the cleaning equipment before and after use.
While white water mold can be unsightly and quite sickening to see in your pool, there is no need to panic as it does not pose any danger to the swimmers. Better still, it is pretty easy to remove by following the steps highlighted above.
However, the best thing you can do is to ensure you never have to deal with it in the first place. You can do this by confirming your pump and filter are always working correctly, scrubbing and shocking your pool often, and keeping your pool chemistry in perfect balance throughout.